The National Leader of the Turkmen people, Chairman of the Halk Maslahaty [People’s Council] of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov went to Iran on a two-day working visit on Tuesday, 30 May.
On the first day of the visit, Arkadag Berdimuhamedov met with President of Iran Ebrahim Raisi, Chairman of the Council of Political Expediency of Iran Sadeq Amoli Larijani and the head of Parliament.
The talks covered almost full range of bilateral cooperation with strong focus on transport, energy and gas sectors. Moreover, the issues of stability and security in Central Asia and region’s neighborhood amid global uncertainties were mentioned prominently.
Following the negotiations with Raisi, a package of documents was signed.
The Turkmen delegation included:
- Deputy Prime Minister for Agriculture Annageldy Yazmyradov
- Deputy Prime Minister for the Oil and Gas Sector Batyr Amanov
- Deputy Prime Minister for Industry, Construction and Energy Baymurad Annamamedov
- Director General of the Agency of Transport and Communications under the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan Mammetkhan Chakiyev
- Chairman of the State Customs Service of Turkmenistan Maksat Khudaikulyev
- Chairman of the State concern “Turkmengaz” Maksat Babayev
- Chairman of the Management Board of the Bank for Foreign Economic Activity of Turkmenistan Rakhimberdy Djepbarov
- Ambassador of Turkmenistan to Iran Ahmed Kurbanov
- and other officials
Some members of Turkmen delegation had separate meetings with their Iranian counterparts.
Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov: Ensuring security and stability in the Central Asian region is one of the key issues on the agenda of bilateral relations
Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Sadeq Amoli Larijani exchanged views on a wide range of partnership issues both in a bilateral format and within the framework of major international organizations.
As the National Leader of the Turkmen people noted, Turkmenistan attaches special importance to cooperation with Iran, which is one of the country’s main partners. It was emphasized that at present the interstate dialogue in the political, diplomatic, trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian spheres is developing on the principles of mutual respect and good neighborliness.
The Islamic Republic of Iran was among the first to support the independence and permanent neutrality status of Turkmenistan, providing appropriate assistance in this direction on the world stage.
In turn, Turkmenistan respects Iran’s sovereignty and the national path of development. Appreciating the concrete and constructive principles of Iran, Turkmenistan always supports the international initiatives put forward by Iran.
Topical issues of regional and international politics of mutual interest were also discussed.
The National Leader of the Turkmen people noted that as a result of the complex processes taking place today in the international arena, Central Asia and its neighboring countries are under the spotlight of the whole world. This factor serves to strengthen the position of the region to a certain extent.
According to the mutual opinion of the parties, the favorable geopolitical location of the Central Asian countries is a solid basis for growing interest in developing cooperation with the region every year. In this regard, special attention is paid to ensuring security and stability in the region, being one of the key issues on the agenda of bilateral relations.
The sides also exchanged views on issues of Turkmen-Iranian cooperation related to the Caspian Sea. As is well known, the Caspian Sea factor has begun to express itself in the region’s geopolitical processes, requiring to step up collaborative efforts to bolster regional security. In this context, the importance of the concrete agreements reached following the results of the Sixth Caspian Summit of the Heads of State of the region, held on 29 June 2022 in Ashgabat, was noted.
The Caspian basin is becoming increasingly important not only politically, but also from economic point of view, Arkadag Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov added, stressing that Turkmenistan sees strategic opportunities for cooperation in this area.
Speaking about trade and economic relations, transport, the oil and gas complex and the electric power industry were identified among the priority areas.
During the meeting, an exchange of views took place on the establishment of close contacts between the Halk Maslahaty of Turkmenistan and the Council of Political Expediency of the IRI, as well as between the parliaments of the two countries.
In terms of cultural and humanitarian cooperation, the parties expressed readiness to intensify cooperation, in particular, in the scientific and educational sphere, in the field of health, ecology, as well as between the provinces.
Chairman of the Halk Maslahaty invited Larijani to visit Turkmenistan at any time convenient for him. The invitation was gratefully accepted. The dates of the visit will be agreed through diplomatic channels.
The National Leader of the Turkmen people and the chairman of the Council of Political Expediency of the IRI exchanged gifts.
During a meeting with Arkadag Berdimuhamedov, Chairman of the Mejlis of the Islamic Shura of Iran Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf highly appreciated the policy of neutrality pursued by sovereign Turkmenistan and the country’s contribution to solving urgent problems of our time.
The two nations will be able to work together to ensure the security and sustainable development of the region, Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf underlined.
Noting the closeness of views and the coincidence of positions of the two countries on many issues of regional and international policy, Chairman Halk Maslahaty stressed the importance of developing cooperation in such areas as transport, fuel and energy complex, electric power, road and bridge construction.
Ghalibaf emphasized the need to strengthen trade and economic ties between the two neighboring countries and noted the potential for expanding export-import operations. He also supported Berdimuhamedov’s initiative to form an inter-parliamentary group.
Among the topics of discussion were environmental issues. As it was emphasized, Iran has always supported and will continue to support all initiatives put forward by Turkmenistan in this area.
At the end of the meeting, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov invited the head of the Iranian parliament to visit Turkmenistan at any convenient time.
President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi, confirming Iran’s readiness to expand cooperation with Turkmenistan, stressed the importance of the first official visit of President Serdar Berdimuhamedov to Iran in June 2022.
Arkadag Berdimuhamedov also proposed to organize mutual visits of representatives of ministries and governments on a regular basis to develop specific mechanisms for expanding partnership between two countries.
Special emphasis was placed on mutual support of each other’s initiatives and proposals on key issues of global development. Proceeding from this, the Chairman of the Halk Maslahaty of Turkmenistan spoke in favor of more coordinated joint cooperation at the international level.
Among the topical areas of bilateral cooperation, the parties identified the gas sector, the electric power industry, the transport complex, and the water sector. In this regard, the progress of the agreements reached in these areas and the possibility of implementing new joint projects were discussed.
The negotiations continued in an expanded format, with the participation of members of the government delegations.
President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi noted that Iran sees Turkmenistan as a good friend and reliable partner. Stressing that interstate cooperation is based on a strong foundation of many years of fruitful cooperation, Raisi spoke in favor of its further activation in all areas.
In turn, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said that Turkmenistan pays special attention to expanding cooperation with Iran, one of Turkmenistan’s important neighbors and main partners.
Iran was among the first to support the independence and permanent neutrality status of Turkmenistan and provided assistance in this direction on the world stage. In addition, the Iranian side always supports international initiatives related to ensuring universal peace, security and sustainable development.
During the meeting, the sides exchanged views on issues on the regional agenda in the light of the current complex global processes and taking into account the increasing role of the Central Asian region. As noted, the favorable geopolitical location of the two countries serves as a reliable basis for the increasing interest in developing cooperation at the regional level from year to year. In this context, special attention is paid to one of the topical issues on the bilateral agenda, in particular, ensuring security and stability in the region.
Turkmenistan is putting forward initiatives to maintain peace and sustainable development in Central Asia and restore peace in neighboring Afghanistan. In particular, a number of regional and international infrastructure projects have been launched with the participation of Afghanistan in such areas as energy, transport and communications.
Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov emphasized the pivotal role that Iran’s railway development has played in helping Afghanistan’s economy recover and reiterated his belief that infrastructure projects benefit the entire region, not just Afghanistan. In this regard, Arkadag Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov stressed the importance of neighboring states playing a unique role in their implementation and the necessity of pursuing this effort further.
Caspian Sea-related issues are given a significant place in Turkmenistan and Iran’s relations. The region is currently experiencing geopolitical dynamics that call for more cooperation in order to promote regional security. At the same time, the significance of the Caspian Basin was stressed from both an economic and political perspective.
The parties discussed the bilateral trade and economic partnership and mentioned a rise in trade turnover. In this regard, a suggestion was made to step up the settlement of issues related to gas supplies and transit, boost exports and imports, and strengthen cooperation in the transport and electric power industries.
The electric power industry was named among the promising vectors of the partnership. In this aspect, the importance of accelerating the work on laying the Mary–Mashhad power transmission line was discussed.
Turkmenistan and Iran are located at the intersection of transport routes, which opens up wide opportunities for increasing cooperation in cargo transportation. In this regard, the National Leader of the Turkmen people made a number of specific proposals, including those concerning the use of the potential of the Kazakhstan–Turkmenistan–Iran railway, the International Seaport of Turkmenbashi and the ports of Iran on the Caspian Sea.
It was noted that there is a great potential for deepening contacts in such areas as agriculture, trade, investment, industry and the need to activate all mechanisms for building up bilateral partnership. A special role in this process is assigned to the activities of the Intergovernmental Turkmen-Iranian Commission for Economic Cooperation.
The necessity of expanding partnership in the scientific and educational sphere, in the field of healthcare, sports and ecology, at the level of the provinces of the two countries was expressed.
The National Leader of the Turkmen people, stressing that the 300th anniversary of the outstanding thinker and poet Makhtumkuli Fragi will be widely celebrated in 2024, expressed confidence that creative forums will be organized jointly with Irani in honor of this significant date.
Then the signing ceremony of bilateral documents took place. They included:
- Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the electric power industry between the Ministry of Energy of Turkmenistan and the Ministry of Energy of the Islamic Republic of Iran;
- Cooperation program for 2023-2024 between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran;
- The program of joint measures to deepen and expand cooperation in the future for 2023-2024 between the State Customs Service of Turkmenistan and the Customs Administration of the Islamic Republic of Iran;
- Memorandum of Cooperation in the fields of education and healthcare between the Myrat Garryev State Medical University of Turkmenistan and the Mashhad University of Medical Sciences;
- Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of education between S.A.Niyazov Turkmen Agricultural University and Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.
A joint declaration was also adopted between Turkmenistan and Iran, which emphasizes that during the meetings held in a friendly and trusting atmosphere, an exchange of views took place on the entire range of issues of bilateral cooperation, including in the political, inter-parliamentary, trade, transport and energy spheres.
At the end of the signing ceremony, the National Leader of the Turkmen people and President Seyid Ibrahim Raisi addressed the press. In general, they summarized the main points of the discussions held during the negotiations.
The Mehr News Agency reported:
“We had very good negotiations in the field of energy. Iran and Turkmenistan have a high potential and capability in the field of energy,” Raeisi said in the presser held after the meeting alongside former Turkmen president Berdimuhamedov.
“In the field of water and electricity, good cooperation has been forged between the two countries. In the field of transportation and transit, both sides have made new decisions,” the Iranian president added.
“Supplying of technical and engineering services [from Iran to Turkmenistan] will increase,” he added.
“We have good relations with the friendly and brotherly Turkmenistan, but the current level of relations is not satisfactory and those ties could further be expanded,” Raeisi further said.
The Turkmen top official, for his part said that, “Cooperation between the two countries in the field of energy was constructive and is at a good level.”
“We discussed economic and commercial cooperation and emphasized the role of economic committees because it is very important and we encourage its operationalization,” Berdimuhamedov added.
“We went over the issue of energy, especially gas and electricity, and Turkmenistan’s policy is based on the expansion of gas exports,” he added.
“We talked about electricity and its export from Turkmenistan to Iran,” the top official added.
“We agreed on the operationalization of land and sea routes for the implementation of large projects and exports,” Berdimuhamedov added.
A separate cultural program was prepared for the wife of the National Leader of the Turkmen People, Chairman of the Halk Maslahaty of Turkmenistan Ogulgerek Berdimuhamedova.
Within its framework, the spouse of the Chairman of the Halk Maslahaty of Turkmenistan visited the Palace complex “Saadabad”, which is located in the northern part of Tehran, in the prestigious Shemiran district.
The tour began with an acquaintance with the Palace “Shahwand”, built in the last years of the reign of the Qajar dynasty.
Under the last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who ruled from 1941 to 1979, major repairs were carried out there. The two-story palace is also known as the “Green Palace” because after being rebuilt, it was coated in sand and green Isfahan marble.
Today, a collection of classical Iranian paintings, calligraphy, national costumes and much more are showcased there.
Then Ogulgerek Berdimuhamedova visited the exhibition of the world-famous contemporary Iranian artist Mahmoud Farshchian. The gallery contains 54 paintings.
Farshchian founded his own school of Iranian painting, which adheres to the classical style using modern techniques.
Then there was a tour of the National Museum, which is located in the former residence of Reza Pahlavi Shah.
Its total area is 7000 square meters. It is the largest building of the Palace complex “Saadabad”.
The building accommodates over 50 rooms, each contains unique museum exhibits – valuable gifts presented to the Pahlavi dynasty.
In the evening, the wife of the National Leader of the Turkmen people, Chairman of the Halk Maslahaty of Turkmenistan Ogulgerek Berdimuhamedova met with the wife of the President of Iran Jamileh Alamolhoda.
She gave a dinner in honor of the distinguished guest Ogulgerek Berdimuhamedova.
The Iranian energy minister said the current 500 megawatts capacity of electricity swap between Iran and Turkmenistan will double to 1,000 MW after the inauguration of a new transmission line between the two nations.
Ali Akbar Mehrabian made the remarks in a meeting with a visiting delegation from Turkmenistan, who are accompanying the Chairman of the People’s Council of the National Assembly of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov on the Tehran visit on Tuesday.
“Good negotiations took place between Iran and Turkmenistan within the framework of the visit of top Turkmen official who is accompanied by a high-ranking delegation on the visit to Tehran in the field of water and electricity with the participation of officials, relevant ministers and vice presidents of Turkmenistan.”
“In these meetings, it was agreed that the operationalization of the construction of the four-circuit transmission line between Merv and Sarkhes, which is 150 km long, will begin as soon as possible; The contractor for building this line is an Iranian company, and the equipment and facilities produced in Iran are used in this field,” Mehrabian said.
The Iranian minister added, “Currently, Iran has the capacity to exchange 500 megawatts of electricity with Turkmenistan, and with the construction of the new Merv-Sarkhes line, the volume of electricity exchanges between the two countries will increase to double that volume to 1,000 MW.” ///Mehr, 30 May 2023
Emphasizing the activation of Ashgabat agreement, Iran’s Minister of Roads and Urban Development announced the drafting of a comprehensive transportation document between Iran and Turkmenistan.
Mehrdad Bazrpash made the comments in the meeting with the head of the Transport and Communications Agency of Turkmenistan which is linked with the Cabinet of Ministers on Tuesday.
Bazarpash emphasized strengthening the relations between the two countries by pointing out that the two countries have a lot in common in transportation matters.
“Our approach in the government is to develop relations with all neighbors, including Turkmenistan,” he added.
Stating that there are 600 wagons passing through shared Sarakhs and Incheh Borun border crossing every day, Bazrpash said “Considering the potential of these borders, we should look for a further increase in wagons.”
Stressing the revival of Ashgabat agreement, the Iranian minister suggested that the implementation and operational phase of the Ashgabat transit agreement be followed up on in the joint economic commission of Iran and Turkmenistan, which will be held in Turkmenistan next month, with the participation of the member states.
Bazrpash emphasize Turkmenistan’s greater participation in completing the North-South corridor, especially in the south of their country and on the Persian Gulf and added, “Currently, Arab countries have invested in the Persian Gulf, and Turkmenistan can also play a part in this corridor.”
Considering maritime transportation, the Iranian minister said, “The two countries of Iran and Turkmenistan have many water borders, which facilitate the docking of commercial ships in Turkmenbashi port, strengthen the maritime search and rescue for vessels under the Iranian flag, and increase the level of services requested by the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Bazrpash also voices Iran’s readiness in welcoming Turkmen investors in the ports at the north and south of Iran.
Other issues emphasized in this meeting included the strengthening of air cooperation between the two countries and resolving visa-related barriers.
Iran’s Oil Minister says that Iran will soon sign a contract with Turkmenistan to import natural gas from the neighboring country, Iranian news outlets report.
Around 10 million cubic meters of natural gas per day is to be imported from Turkmenistan as per the contract, Javad Owji told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting with DPM Batyr Amanov on Tuesday.
The import of gas is scheduled to be started in June.
///nCa, 31 May 2023 [photo credit – press service of president of Iran, TDH, Mehr News]
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